The standard critique of Israel’s settlement movement from the Zionist left has been to point out that attempting to assert sovereignty over the West Bank could lead to an Arab majority. The argument is that this would enable the Palestinians to succeed in wiping out the Jewish state using demography rather than invasion or terror. It’s a point of view many Israelis share, but the Palestinian refusal to make peace has continued to frustrate the wishes of most Jews for a two-state solution. But the dislike of the settlers goes a lot deeper than mere demographic arguments. As Gershom Gorenberg’s piece in the New York Times “Sunday Review” today illustrates, the passion to buttress the Jewish presence in any part of the country, whether on the wrong side of the Green Line or not, is what is really bugging the left.
Gorenberg, a veteran Israeli journalist whose animus for the settlers and Israel’s government have made him a regular presence in liberal American publications, takes his familiar attacks on the right to new levels in a piece in which he claims efforts to ensure there is a Jewish majority in the Israeli city of Acre as well as the Galilee are no more defensible than the settlers’ attempts to establish Israeli beachheads in the West Bank. For Gorenberg, the push to ensure that parts of pre-June 1967 Israel will not be lost to the Arabs is also “racist.” Indeed, he worries that even if a two-state solution forces some of the Jews currently living in the West Bank to relocate inside the Green Line, they will take their Zionist fervor with them–leading to conflicts that will replicate the “price tag” attacks on Arabs that leftists see as the inevitable product of settler ideology. This distorted argument not only turns liberal Israeli arguments upside down, it also betrays the mixed feelings some on the left seem to have for Zionism.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati says he will resign his post if the parliament doesn’t agree to fund the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon tasked with investigating and prosecuting the assassins of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Hezbollah is undoubtedly furious. When the United Nations indicted four of its members for that spectacular act of terrorism in the capital (the bomb that killed Hariri weighed more than 2,000 pounds and changed the direction of that country’s history), it brought down the elected government and replaced Hariri’s son Saad with Mikati. Yet its very own hand-picked replacement refuses to comply with the one task he was ordered to carry out.
It is arguable whether any editorial stand by a print newspaper counts for all that much anymore. But if any endorsement can be said to be meaningful, then it must be admitted the Union Leader’s stand on the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary is one. Which means the outlook for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign is looking a bit sunnier today after the front-page embrace of the former Speaker of the House by publisher Joseph W. McQuaid.
Though Gingrich and his backers will spin this endorsement as a tribute to his good qualities, you don’t have to read too far between the lines to see the newspaper’s decision speaks volumes about McQaid’s antipathy for Mitt Romney. Gingrich is, the paper concedes, “not the perfect candidate” and one with whom it clearly disagrees on a number of important issues. But as McQuaid wrote in a not very subtle reference to Romney, “We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.”
Michele Bachmann gave what is a transparently misleading interview on “Fox & Friends.”
To set the context: Representative Bachmann has been critical of Newt Gingrich’s statement, made at the most recent GOP debate, that while he favors deporting all recent unattached illegals, he doesn’t believe in deporting illegal immigrants who have been here for 25 years, have a family/community here, and have been law-abiding and tax-paying. They could get what the Krieble Foundation developed as a “red card” and be legal, but with no path to citizenship and no right to vote.
Matthew’s critique of Israel’s latest PR fad is spot-on: No campaign can succeed without addressing the fundamental issue of the Jews’ “right to self-determination in their homeland.” But there’s one simple thing both Israel and Jewish organizations could do to improve the situation: stop appointing official representatives who actively promote the anti-Israel case. Consider two examples: former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev, and Zoe Jick, New York regional director for the World Zionist Organization’s Department of Diaspora Activities.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in August, Shalev said Israel shared the blame for the Palestinians’ statehood application to the UN, inter alia because it put “new things on the table, like the requirement that Palestinians recognize Israel as the homeland of Jewish people, which to my mind is superfluous.” If even Israel’s former UN ambassador deems this a “new” and “superfluous” condition that contributed to stymieing peace efforts, you can’t blame the general public for thinking so. Yet Shalev is wrong on both counts.